Treatment of bacterial airway infections is essential for cystic fibrosis therapy. However, effectiveness of antibacterial treatment is limited as bacteria inside the mucus are protected from antibiotics and immune response. To overcome this biological barrier, ciprofloxacin was loaded into lipid-core nanocapsules (LNC) for high mucus permeability, sustained release and antibacterial activity. Ciprofloxacin-loaded LNC with a mean size of 180 nm showed a by 50% increased drug permeation through mucus. In bacterial growth assays, the drug in the LNC had similar minimum inhibitory concentrations as the free drug in P. aeruginosa and S. aureus. Interestingly, formation of biofilm-like aggregates, which were observed for S. aureus treated with free ciprofloxacin, was avoided by exposure to LNC.
With the combined advantages over the non-encapsulated drug, ciprofloxacin-loaded LNC represent a promising drug delivery system with the prospect of an improved antibiotic therapy in cystic fibrosis.